Bohuslav Martinu: The Compulsion to Compose

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Scarecrow Press, May 1, 2011 - Music - 444 pages
Bohemian composer Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) was exceptionally prolific, composing over 400 imaginative, well-crafted, and diverse pieces, including symphonies, operas, ballet scores, and other orchestral works. For 12 years (1941-1953), he lived in America, during which he enjoyed a brilliant reputation, and his works were played by nearly all the major orchestras. Yet today, his works are rarely performed.

In Bohuslav Martinu: The Compulsion to Compose, F. James Rybka provides a documented explanation for Martinu's amazing output: he had Asperger syndrome. Indeed, Martinu is believed to be the first composer ever to be documented, albeit retrospectively, with an autistic spectrum disorder. In this unique biography, Rybka follows Martinu's life from his birth in Policka, Bohemia to his composition studies with Albert Roussel, his escape from Nazis, and his rise as an internationally recognized composer with premieres of his works in Boston, Prague, London, and Basel.

As Rybka explains how the dynamics of Asperger Syndrome affected the composer's work, readers will more fully appreciate Martinu's accomplishments and legacy. Containing important letters and photographs, this book will inspire and inform those impacted by autism but will also be of interest to music scholars and students alike.
 

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Contents

Ch01 Martinu in Policka and Prague 18901923
1
Ch02 Martinu in Paris 19231940
41
Ch03 New Friends in America 19411946
99
Photospread
160
Ch04 Martinu in America 19471953
161
Ch05 Final Years in Europe 19531959
213
Ch06 Evidence of Martinus Asperger Syndrome
287
Ch07 Martinu s Legacy
315
Bibliography
351
Index
357
About the Author
373
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

F. James Rybka, now retired, graduated from Cornell Medical School and became a plastic surgeon. Bohuslav Martinu was a close family friend.

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